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June 8, 2019 Dining No Comments Email Email

 Hong Kong’s all-time favourite comfort foods are revived at nostalgic tea house Peony Garden – opening in late June atXiqu Centre in West Kowloon Cultural District. Peony Garden complements the theme of Hong Kong’s new Chinese arts and opera hub by paying homage to Cantonese tea house classics as an integral part of local culture.

Beloved traditional favourites are rejuvenated with a new lease of life by ever-expanding hospitality group Bird Kingdom Group in an exquisite3,000 sq ft, venue with an ‘open garden’ interior design concept.

Paying tribute to Chinese opera culture, Peony Garden, or ‘You Yuan Cha Ji’ in Chinese, is named after The Peony Pavilion, a masterpiece of Chinese literature and kunqu by famous playwright Tang Xian-zu (1550-1616).  The garden-style concept resonates with a scene from the epic drama called A Stroll in the Garden.

Tang Xian-zu, also known as the Shakespeare of the East, wrote four drama masterpieces. Other than The Peony Pavilion, there is also A Pair of Purple HairpinsA Dream Under the Southern Bough and The Tale of Handan. These three classic dramas use the word “ji” or “chapter” at the end of the Chinese name. Peony Garden, is named “You Yuan Cha Ji” in Chinese to infuse the spirit of Chinese opera, with an extensive list of authentic local foods and drinks.

Seating 200 guests, Peony Garden’s interior design is additionally inspired by traveler rest-stops in ancient China – designed around an open courtyard under a sweeping roof, with wooden screens and traditional Chinese décor features.

“We are delighted to present Hong Kong tea house classics, while embracing different regional Chinese cuisines in a unique setting complementing Xiqu Centre’s goal of bringing the best arts and opera culture from different regions of China,” says Eric Ting, Founder and CEO of Bird Kingdom Group.

“The location inside Xiqu Centre is the epitome of the crossroads between traditional and contemporary culture.”

Helming the traditional Cantonese fare are seasoned Chef Chan Wai-Teng, Executive Chef of Greater China Club’s fine Cantonese dining roomMan Hing, and Chaozhou Masterchef Chen Ze-Jia, revered among China’s leading masters of the delicate coastal culinary style of eastern Guangdong. Masterchef Chen will oversee the Brine Section, where he will present his authentic braised items, such as Lionhead Goose Head,Goose LiverPork BellyPork Knuckle and more.

As director of the Chaozhou Cuisine Research Centre and representative of the Guangdong Cuisine Association at numerous food festivals, Masterchef Chen’s nationwide renown has extended to Beijing’s Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where he was invited to present his native traditional cuisine to Chinese leaders, including former Premier Li Peng, Deng Xiaoping, Li Ruihuan and Tian Jiyun.

One of the highlights of Peony Garden is Hong Kong classic favourite Cart Noodles, where diners can handpick their preferred type of noodles, with a wide range of choices, to various options of sauces and soup bases.

Chaozhou native Chef Chen has created more than 50 toppings made from classic Chaozhou recipes, including such signature dishes as theLionhead Goose Meat, Beef CheekGoose Blood CurdPork IntestinePork Small Intestine in Brine SauceChaozhou Handmade Beef Ball, and more.

Chef Teng meanwhile revives classic Hong Kong favourites – Signature Baked Pork Chop Rice with Tomato Sauce; Italian Baked Prawn Rice; Black TruffleOnsen and Wild Mushroom Rice; Souffle Curry Beef Cheek Rice; and Souffle Seafood Rice.

Savoury Hong Kong-style street snacks are showcased, with Signature Deep-fried Chicken SpleenDeep-fried Shredded Radish CakeTraditional Deep-fried Fish BallsDeep-fried Pig IntestineCurry Fish Balls and beloved ‘Fake Shark Fin Soup’.

Tea house desserts are also essential ‘yum cha’ signatures – including Fresh Pineapple Bun (‘bo lo baau’), popular for its crunchy top and typically smothered with a slab of cold butter. Egg puffs and tarts (‘dan tat’) include creative variations as Milk Tea Egg TartPomelo Egg Tart and Sesame Egg Tart. Nostalgic favourites extend to French toast options with Butter and HoneyMelted Cheese and Fermented Bean Curd and Sugar.

Completing the traditional ‘yum cha’ menu are a wide choice of local-style drinks from Milk Tea and Cocoa, to Hot Water with Egg and Red Bean Ice.

Set to open at the end of June, Peony Garden is located at G/F, Xiqu Centre, 88 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Open daily from8am-10pm.

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